Rhineland was the local name, a name taken on from a place-name. Originally denoting the proprietorship of a village or estate, the German preposition von, which means from or of, used with local names, was taken as a mark of aristocracy. The surname Gruenwal was given to someone who lived close to the village green. Gruenwal is a topographic surname, which was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree. Habitation names form the other broad category of surnames that were derived from place-names.
Early Origins of the Gruenwal family
Rhineland, (Strasbourg) where since ancient times the Grunwald family made significant contributions to the region's feudal society. Subsequently, the family became prominent in local affairs and often merged with other distinguished families, some of whom played important roles in the territorial conflicts of the period.
Early History of the Gruenwal family
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Gruenwal Spelling Variations
Westphalians spoke Low German, which is similar to modern Dutch. Many German names carry suffixes that identify where they came from. Others have phrases attached that identify something about the original bearer. Other variations in German names resulted from the fact that medieval scribes worked without the aid of any spelling rules. The spelling variations of the name Gruenwal include Gruenwald, Gruenewald, Gruenenwald, Grunewald, Gruenwalt, Grunewalt, Grunenwaldt, Grunewalelt, Grunwald, Grunwaldt and many more.
Early Notables of the Gruenwal family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Gruenwal family to the New World and Oceana
The great European flow of migration to North America, which began in the middle of the 17th century and continued into the 20th century, was particularly attractive to those from the Rhineland who wished to escape either poverty or religious persecution. Many of those who left the Rhineland to seek their fortunes in the prosperous and free New World settled in the major urban centers of the United States and Canada. In the United States, the settlers from the Rhineland passed through immigration centers like that of Ellis Island, most of them moving on to Pennsylvania, Ohio, Texas, Illinois, California, and New York. In Canada, the majority of Rhinelanders settled in Ontario and the prairie provinces. An examination of passenger and immigration lists has revealed many important settlers to North America bearing the name Gruenwal, or one of its variants above: Heinrich Grunewald, who settled in Pennsylvania in 1738. Ludwig C. Gunewald who arrived in New York, N.Y. in 1761; Nicholaus Grunenwald and Jacob Grunenwaldt both arrived in Pennsylvania in 1771.
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